Spring is in the Air… And that means Love! Wedding season is coming. This time of the year is when we service many premarital couples who are seeking counseling and preparation for marriage. Our goal is to help couples feel completely confident when they walk down the aisle that they are prepared for both the joys and the challenges of being married! We prepare couples for marriage in the following ways:
First, not all couples who are seeking pre marriage therapy are having problems. To the contrary, many couples are conflict free and having an amazing time preparing for their wedding and honeymoon. In these cases, we focus three or four sessions on teaching conflict management and communication skills for those problems that will inevitably happen in the future. We also review the Sound Relationship House, and discuss what research has found to be the most important elements of a successful marriage relationship.
Second, our premarital couples take the PREAPRE inventory which identifies areas of disagreement that the two partners have about issues that will likely arise during the marriage. The PREPARE shows the couples strength areas as well as areas of disagreement for future topics such as money, parenting, living habits, sexual expectations, and roles and responsibilities. We spend time reviewing all areas of disagreement to make sure that partners can find a compromise or agreement point. This is important so that two people do not get married if they have a strong area of disagreement that can be resolved. During this part of the pre marriage counseling is where we also resolve any conflicts that the couple has been having during their dating and engagement and engagement partner.
Finally, I am convinced that one of the most important aspects of premarital therapy is that couples already have a connection with a trained Couples Therapist. I absolutely value building rapport and a trusting relationship with couples before marriage. Many couples then feel comfortable to come in for a few sessions as needed during the first five years of marriage. We encourage couples not to wait if they are having problems that they cannot resolve at home after a few conversations. I always tell my couples, “If you have the same fight more than three times without a resolution, I hope you will schedule an appointment. This is like a bad tooth ache that is not going to go away, so get some help before things get worse and the relationship deteriorates.”